In Part 1 of How My Weight Loss Journey Taught me the Secret, I told you about my first true weight struggle. I learned about appreciating my body and found balance because of this experience.
What Happened Next
Afterwards, I struggled to keep the balance when various life events came my way, but I did an OK job, up until I met my husband. During that time, between dating him and some hormonal changes I had going on, I ended up putting on a good bit of weight again. The same amount I did Freshman year of college. But it was different this time. This time, I continued to exercise (not every day, or even every week, but enough to feel strong and maintain my physical health and my mental health). I carried the weight differently than the first time, and I decided I was okay with this for the time being.
Why I Stopped Aiming for Weight Loss
I was ok with it because I still felt good. And because I realized that my priorities were different than they were just a few short years before. I realized that a person’s weight is a relative and subjective truth. It doesn’t matter if I look like the insta-famous fitness models. What matters is that I am healthy and happy. And I was! For me that simply meant that I was active when I wanted to be and eating healthy meals when I wanted to. It also meant that I would watch movies and TV with Dan and have dessert when I feel like it.
Wedding Weight Loss
December 12, 2014, Dan popped the question 🙂
We got right to wedding planning and set a date for exactly one year later. I knew I wanted to get in shape for the wedding, but decided I absolutely did not want to spend my engagement miserable on a diet just for the sake of weight loss. I also didn’t want to hurt myself or burn myself out by over-exercising. So, I thought about everything I learned in college and as a dietitian and everything I knew about myself and my personality, and I realized that the secret is NOURISHMENT! I stopped restricting calories, and ate more than I ever had before and LOST weight.
When it came to exercise, I started slowly. Seriously, I was only exercising 3 days per week for 20 minutes when I first got engaged. By the time the wedding came around, I was exercising between 45-90 mins per day, 6 days per week, and it wasn’t even difficult. It felt natural. Like part of my life. I varied the intensity (I never ever did an intense workout for more than 30 mins btw), and made sure I was never overdoing it. By the end of the year, not only did I fit in my wedding dress, I also hiked 2 volcanoes and a waterfall on our honeymoon. If I had been depriving myself all year, those things would not have been possible.
Why Weight Loss Wasn’t Enough
I knew deep down that I had reached my goals, and I knew that I had found nourishment to be the big secret. But there was still something missing to this secret. I thought that because I had done it right, that I would maintain my weight loss after the wedding. But I was wrong. I gained it all back. Why? I worked so hard, how could I just throw it all away? I was so angry at myself, and I really beat myself up. My mean girl was out of control.
What To Do About It
I took a step back and did some soul searching. I realized what was missing while pouring over my wedding photos one day. My appreciation. How DUMB. I KNEW from my previous struggle that this was so important. But I was so busy planning the wedding and trying to make my body “wedding ready” that I forgot to take care of my mind, and so I lost my appreciation for my body and for the goals that I reached. When the wedding was over, because I had taken it for granted, I slipped back into old habits. I stopped planning healthy meals, and I cut way back on exercise. And I gained it all back.
The New Plan
That’s when I decided I needed a different kind of goal. Of course, I aimed to eat healthy and stay active. But fitness and weight loss were no longer my objectives. My new objective was to re-embrace myself and my body and learn to appreciate it again. It was not easy for me, but I stayed strong and got to a point where I did appreciate my body and felt good about it. And without it being my main goal, I did also end up losing some weight.
Reaching my New Goal
The first time I realized that I reached my new goal was during my best friend’s wedding that Fall. My weight was higher than it was one year before, and yet I felt more amazing about myself and more confident than I did at my own wedding!
This is a tough journey to do alone! Fortunately, you don’t have to. Download my free guide 5 Steps to Take Now to Stop Calorie Counting for Good to get started and don’t hesitate to ask questions or get my personal help!